Separating the former municipalities of Pest and Buda – which unified with Obuda in the 19 th century to become Budapest – the Danube is without doubt one of the top tourist sights in the Hungarian capital.
The banks of Budapest only reveal all their secrets only when seen from the river.
All on board: as an accomplished sailor, Captain Ulysses has listed the best Danube river cruises in Budapest!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Budapest? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Budapest? Be sure to check out the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Budapest? Advice & recommendations
Planning your trip to Budapest? Take a look the Captain’s detailed article on the best things to do: A Guide to Budapest
A few words about the Danube
Before embarking on a cruise on the Danube, a little geographical reminder is required!
Quick description of the Danube
2nd longest river in Europe after the Volga, the Danube winds over more than 3,000 kilometers, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.
It runs through no less than ten countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine) as well as four European capitals (Vienna, Bratislava , Budapest and Belgrade). Quite a journey!
The Danube and Budapest
Until the 19 th century, the Danube marked the limit between the municipalities of Pest and Buda. Getting from Pest to Buda was an uphill battle until the construction of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge in 1849! In 1873, Buda, Pest and Óbuda merged: Budapest was born. More than ever, the Danube became the beating heart of the capital and remains to this day one of Budapest’s top sights!
Embark on a Danube river cruise in Budapest
You can’t explore the Hungarian capital without venturing out onto the enchanting waters of the Danube! The capital is never as beautiful as seen from the river: gorgeous buildings line up along its banks, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
During your Danube river cruise, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views over: the Parliament of Budapest, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle and even Marguerite Island.
Danube river cruises are particularly magical at sunset, when the banks of the river light up and sparkle in the night!
The best Danube river cruises in Budapest
During your stay in Budapest, you will certainly notice that countless agencies offer cruises on the Danube, so much so that it can be a slightly confusing to say the least!
To help you see more clearly, Captain Ulysse has selected 6 Danube river cruises with excellent value for money. You’re sure to find one to your taste!
Danube river cruise for tight budgets
There’s no shortage of cruises on the Danube, but prices can be quite steep! But fear not: there are affordable options!
The Captain recommends one in particular, which, in addition to its low price, has three major perks: it takes place in the evening and you can enjoy the view on Budapest at sunset + a welcome cocktail is included + it can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
👉 Learn more: 1 hour cruise with cocktail
The Most Unique Danube Cruise
Who said cruising meant only boats? Believe it or not, there’s a floating bus that roams both the streets of Budapest and the Danube. It’s a chance to see the capital city’s most iconic landmarks both on land and on the river. How unique is that?
The cruise lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes and includes an audioguide in multiple languages. It’s cancellable (full refund) up to 24 hours in advance.
👉 For more info: land and water floating bus tour
Romantic Danube river cruise
The cruise includes: an unlimited buffet dinner with local specialties, a welcome drink + a glass of beer/wine/juice, traditional Hungarian live music … in short, the setting is perfect for a romantic evening with your loved one (or a very good evening with friends !)
The cruise lasts between 1h30 and 2h. It can be canceled (full refund) up to 24 hours in advance.
👉 For more info: dinner cruise on the Danube with concert
Pizza & beer cruise
It’s no secret that Budapest is famous for its nightlife, and Danube cruises are no exception! What better way to your night out in the city than a pizza & beer cruise on the Danube?
The 70 minutes Sightseeing Cruise includes: 26-centimeter pizza with toppings of choice (Ungherese, Hawaii, Ham & Corn, Salami, 4 cheese) + unlimited drink consumption (beer or non-alcoholic beverages) + Open terrace & closed area in case of bad weather
👉 For more info: pizza + beer cruise
Exclusive Danube cruise
If you’re not one to share and prefer sailing far from the crowd, the Captain recommends opting for a private cruise on the Danube.
👉 For more info: private cruise on the Danube
Nautical activities on the Danube
prefer action to contemplation, the Danube is an ideal playground to exercise a little and try out water sports! You’ll get away from the city, discover another side of Hungary and take a deep breath of fresh air in the middle of nature!
👉 or more info: stand up paddle on the Danube OR canoe on the Danube + hike
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: if you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Booking. You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital. The Captain recommends in particular:
– tight budget: Avenue Hostel
– intermediate budget: Tempo Life Apartman
– to treat yourself: Hotel Moments Budapest
🎟️ Activities: as for booking visits and tourist activities, Captain Ulysses recommends three websites: GetYourGuide, Tiqets and Civitatis. Guided tours, cruises, skip-the-line tickets, tourist activities… there’s plenty to choose from!
🎫 Citypass: If you are staying in Budapest for several days, you might want to consider investing in the Budapest Card. It includes free public transport, free entrance to the Lukacs Spa, two guided tours, free entrance to 17 museums, as well as numerous discounts.
🚐 Transfers: Budapest airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city. If you want to take a load off your mind, you can book a private transfer into Budapest’s city centre from the airport. A car will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in the city. Find out more: airport transfer.
🚌Transport in Budapest: Budapest’s public transport system is well-developped and quite easy to navigate: metro, bus, tram and even ferry. If you wish, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Rome (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.
✈️ Flights:Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.
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